Thermally-Induced Self-Healing Behaviors and Properties of Four Epoxy Coatings with Different Network Architectures

The thermally-induced self-healing behavior of polymer coatings consists of two steps, i.e., gap closure and crack repair. In addition, the polymer coatings with thermally-induced self-healing capability are expected to show satisfied properties to ensure the application. Here, four epoxy coatings with dense irreversible Network I, dense reversible Network II based on a Diels–Alder (DA) reaction, loose irreversible Network III, as well as partially irreversible and partially reversible Network IV were prepared, respectively. The dense irreversible Network I showed an evident gap closure upon heating, while the crack still existed at the high temperature. The dense reversible Network II presented good self-healing upon direct heating at a high temperature of 150 °C, leading to the quick gap closure in 40 s and subsequent crack disappearance in 80 s. The loose irreversible Network III showed negligible crack variations upon heating, while the partially reversible and partially irreversible Network IV showed quick gap closure as well but only partial crack disappearance. Besides, the coating with the reversible Network II based on the DA reaction not only presented good self-healing capability but also possessed the satisfied mechanical properties and the best electrochemical corrosion property, ensuring its further exploitation and potential practical applications

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